Tuesday, June 1, 2004

“It’s one thing to support the president but an entirely different matter to have a Bush bumper sticker on your car.” And so it began — my wife’s initiation into the loving, tolerant fold of liberal women acquaintances. She had declined an offer to help finance John Kerry’s campaign. What a firestorm! My poor wife had thought that liberal Democrats epitomized free speech, the civil exchange of ideas, diversity and inclusion. Rather than intellectual discourse, however, she found a light show of censorship, revulsion and hate. In a show of incredulous hostility, they swarmed around her, called her names and then left her to sit by herself. In recounting the day’s events, she told me she had contracted “You-are-a-fascist-and are-alone-iosis.”

I confessed that I too had gotten the bug — my boss yelled at me and called me a fascist. I think the kids have it too. Their elementary school newspaper carried an informal poll of well-informed students (K through 5) which listed reasons to love John Kerry and hate George Bush. Deep within the network of caves buried under our community, a conspiracy is afoot to quarantine us. Rightly so. Who wants this disease?

The creation of an illusion that support for the president is aberrant, is unsettling … but not surprising. My wife’s pals represent a microcosm of liberal fantasy made real. Of course, her secret connections to Halliburton are well known. She is milking the Iraqi people. She hates poor people and offers snide remarks about the handicapped. Beneath the various mysteries contained in every woman’s purse, fitted snugly next to her lipstick and Nazi identity card, are her machine gun and Confederate flag. My wife staunchly supports marching off to any war without reason. She is delighted when we suffer casualties. She advocates unsafe abortion and hates gay people. Because she supports the Patriot Act, she hates free speech. A cross hangs over the bed, even though she is Jewish. She despises clean water. Saddam’s spider hole briefcase hangs on her wall. She supports right-wing conspiracies of all shapes and sizes. But now that “You-are-a-fascist-and are-alone-iosis” has been confirmed by laboratory rats, what to do? She requires an emergent eight point plan of treatment:

1) She is right to feel alone, even if Republicans control both houses of Congress, 2/3 of governorships (including our state’s governorship) and, oh yes, the presidency. She should hang her head in shame.

2) She is a fascist — she should just go with it.

3) She has a right to support the president, as long as she keeps it to herself. She has to lose the bumper sticker.

4) She should self-censor her thoughts and ideas: Her friends are far too busy with their social agendas to continuously provide this important service.

5) She is exclusive and intolerant — even more so since Republicans freed the slaves and outvoted Democrats in support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She should crawl into a hole.

6) She must not take a black eye for her beliefs: With all her war-like aggression, who has time? She must put a bag over her head.

7) She must give all of her money away — after all, her friends give their money away…to their children and their brokers.

8) For her views — whatever they are, she should be arrested, isolated, convicted and sentenced. After all, that is the hallmark of judicial activism.

What do I really tell her? Liberal thought defies reality. Ideas are impulse driven, emotional and certainly in the case of my wife, shamefully wrong and hypocritical. In fact, she has the anti-disease. Accusations leveled against her are simply intolerable projections of her friends’ own shortcomings. They loathe free speech — unless it is their own, are well connected, have plenty of money, speak ill of others less fortunate. Their notion of diversity is superficial. Their censorship skills are finely honed. I tell my wife that feelings of isolation are a contrived illusion — a smokescreen created by those who have no true core beliefs. I tell her that liberals are collections of small clumps of desperate groups with varied agendas who emerge en masse to fruitlessly scream and protest at rallies. But the stakes are truly great. How ironic, I tell her, that the appeasing Bush hating “why can’t we all get along” party of Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy dream of world involvement in our nation’s affairs and wish to be guided by a bouquet of warring Third World nations … yet are so completely devoid of any ability to tolerate differing views on even the most local community level. The party of civility and inclusion is truly the party of shrieking instability, unabashed anger, inequality and emotionality.

My wife will not be financing John Kerry’s election bid. Who would want the support of someone with “You-are-a-fascist-and are-alone-iosis” anyway?

Dr. Marcus J. Goldman is a psychiatrist and author of “The Joy of Fatherhood.”

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